Planting garlic and green onions together is one of the easiest and most effective ways to increase the yield of your garden or vegetable patch.
Companion planting onions and garlic gives you increased yields of home-grown garlic, extra flavorsome crops, and a reduction of pests and diseases – all without using a single garden chemical.
What Is Companion Planting?
Companion planting refers to the act of planting different species of plants together in a bed to take advantage of mutual benefits that help both plants thrive.
With proper planning and smart gardening, you can cultivate a plot of mutually beneficial plants. As a result, your crops will flourish without needing intervention, as well as the use of harmful pesticides.
Most plants will easily share their space happily with other plants. But if you choose exactly the right companions, the two crops can bring important benefits to each other.
For instance, most companions plants attract beneficial insects, ensuring that you get good harvests from both crops. In addition, one may help keep insect pests away with its strong scent, while the other might emit chemicals into the soil that will help both crops to thrive.
There are other useful side benefits of companion planting too. For instance:
- When planted at the same time, a quick-growing plant can serve as a marker for slower-growing plants. It is often difficult to tell exactly where rows are while you’re waiting for the first shoots to appear. So having markers can be invaluable.
- Other crops can be used as sacrificial plants, meaning that pests will be drawn to them and away from other, more important crops.
Companion planting mimics the way plants grow in a natural ecosystem. Sowing the right companion plants to your vegetable patch can help foster proper growth, quality, longevity, and the yield of all your crops.
It is crucial for gardeners to know which plants make beneficial companions in order to yield a high-quality harvest.
Can You Plant Garlic and Onions Together?
While it may sound confusing since both garlic and onions are allium family members, planting them together is actually easy and mutually beneficial. You can definitely plant garlic and green onions in the same bed.
But you need to be careful to avoid common allium pests like onion maggots and onion flies by incorporating proper crop rotation. Also, avoid planting in areas where onions were recently grown, as those files most likely harbor overwintering pests.
Garlic is one of the easiest plants to incorporate into an intercropping system. The biggest benefit of using garlic as a companion plant is that it releases volatile oils into the air- these powerful scents deter many common garden pests.
Additionally, garlic bulbs create a build-up of sulfur in the soil. This sulfur acts as a natural fungicide that nearby plants absorb through their roots, reducing their chances of being infected by fungal infections. Recent studies also indicate that garlic helps invigorate the soil too, making it easier for its companions to thrive.
On the other hand, green onions make excellent planting companions. These plants help deter pests like the Japanese beetles, aphids, and rabbits. They also help improve the companion plants’ flavor.
Green onions also have a shallow root system. This means that you will not have to worry about them competing with your garlic crop.
You can plant green onions in the gaps between your garlic or around the outside of your garlic patch. Scallions reach maturity relatively fast, meaning you can plant and harvest them before your garlic starts growing big bulbs.
How to Plant Onions and Garlic Together in the Same Bed?
Both garlic and green onions are best planted in the fall. Here are the steps to planting onions and garlic together:
Proper Soil Preparation
Both garlic and onion grow in a range of soil types. However, your yields will be much better if you pay close attention to soil structure. First, ensure the soil allows plenty of air and water.
Ideally, you should plant them in well-drained, sandy loam soil. This allows the bulbs to grow larger but also keeps them from rotting in case of overly wet conditions, especially during ate fall and early spring.
Prepare Raised Beds
Raised beds work best for garlic and onions. Make sure you can work on the beds without walking in them. The beds should be situated in an area that receives plenty of sunlight.
Before planting, add generous amounts of compost to the bottom of each planting furrow. The compost will provide both the nutrients and improved drainage the onion bulbs need to thrive.
- Plant your garlic by breaking apart individual heads of garlic into separate cloves. Also, separate scallion clusters from the head, setting aside the larger stalks for planting.
- Plant each clove and scallion 1 inch deep with the root side facing down and about 1-2 inches apart.
- Water well after planting to help establish your newly planted bulbs.
Feed your plants in the spring with the right fertilizers. Stop feeding once the leaves start to dry up.
Your green onions will be ready for harvest way earlier than the garlic bulbs. As for the garlic, start harvesting when the leaves turn brown. Then, cure the bulbs before storing them in a cool, dry area with plenty of air circulation.
Benefits of Companion Planting Garlic and Green Onions
Arguably, garlic and onion are some of the most reliable plants to grow in your garden. Other than being relatively easy to grow, these plants take up very little space.
There are many ways that garlic and onion can benefit other plants when they are grown near them and others that will conversely benefit the garlic itself. As a companion plant, garlic helps to:
Improves Soil Quality: Garlic and onion plants leave the soil richer than they found it, creating healthier and more diverse soil over time. Garlic bulbs, for instance, release sulfur in the soil, which can reduce the likelihood of fungal infections for nearby plants, which they absorb through their roots.
Controls Insect Pests: Garlic and onions produce a strong, pungent smell that confuses and deters pests, including:
- Spider mites
- Fungus gnats
- Codling moths
You can also make an effective insecticidal spray by steeping garlic cloves in water.
Attracts Beneficial Insects and Pollinators: Garlic plants yield nectar-rich flowering plants that encourage pollinators like bees and ladybugs to service the plants nearby. these insects also feed on pests like aphids, preventing a pest invasion in your plot.
Encourages Growth: When a plant has lots of nutrients in the soil, sufficient space to grow, and a few pesticides, it automatically grows faster and healthier. Garlic takes up very little space, which makes them well suited to plant in small spaces but pests and fungi are a problem that needs addressing.
Creates Markers and Organization: Intercropping faster-growing plants between slower-growing ones can create helpful markers.
Best Plants for Planting Near Garlic and Green Onions
Planting garlic and green onions together will not have a drastic impact on either crop, but it will have a bigger impact on those around them like
Spinach: Spinach is almost as hardy as garlic, which is why they make excellent winter companions. Plant garlic and onions in a row or circle around spinach to protect it during cold winters.
Cabbage family: Onions make great companions plants for the cabbage family. Kale, broccoli, and cabbage are susceptible to insect attacks. Garlic and onions make the perfect pairing as they help to repel common cabbage pests like cabbage maggots, cabbage worms, and cabbage loopers.
Roses: Roses and garlic work best together. The pungent smell of garlic keeps rose’s many pests away, including black spots.
Tomato plants: The onion’s pungent smell is a great repellant that protects tomatoes and other vegetables from pests. It effectively works to repel even the nastiest red spider mites and keep them away from your tomato plants.
Carrots: You should also consider surrounding your carrot plants with onions, which help repel the destructive carrot fly.
While a lot of plants grow very happily in the vicinity of garlic, there are certain plants that should be kept away from them due to chemical incompatibility and possible flavor contamination. For instance, the growth of beans, peas, bush beans, and asparagus will be badly affected if planted near onions and garlic. In addition, stunted garlic growth leads to very low yields.
FAQ 1: Are Green Onions Easy to Grow?
As long as you provide them with the right growing requirements, including enough sunlight and moisture, green onions are relatively easy to grow.
FAQ 2: How Long Do Green Onions Take to Grow?
Most green onion varieties take between 60 to 80 days from planting to harvesting.